Curettage and cautery for skin cancer
Curettage and electrodessication (or cautery) is used to treat some BCCs and squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen’s disease). It is usually done by a dermatologist.
How it’s done
The doctor will give you a local anaesthetic and then scoop out the cancer using a small, sharp, spoon-shaped instrument called a curette. Low-level heat (electrodessication or cautery) will be applied to stop the bleeding and destroy any remaining cancer.
What to expect after
The wound should heal within a few weeks, leaving a small, flat, round, white scar.
Prof Diona Damian, Dermatologist, The University of Sydney at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Associate, Melanoma Institute of Australia, NSW; Dr Annie Ho, Radiation Oncologist, Genesis Care, Macquarie University, St Vincent’s and Mater Hospitals, NSW; Rebecca Johnson, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Melanoma Institute of Australia, NSW; Shannon Jones, SunSmart Health Professionals Coordinator, Cancer Council Victoria; Liz King, Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Cancer Council NSW; Roslyn McCulloch, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Paige Preston, Policy Advisor, Cancer Prevention, Health and Wellbeing, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Michael Wagels, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
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